Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Lansky LKN111 Mikkel Willumsen Responder Quick Action Knife

Flippers have always been appealing to me. There's a lot to like: one-handed opening, good ergonomics and they are usually sleek. I've owned at least a dozen Kershaw flippers, and they are probably my favorite brand for that style of knife, but I wanted to try something different and unique looking. This Lansky LKN111 looked rugged and well designed, and I own their sharpening system, so it seemed to be exactly the type of flipper I was looking for, so I bought this one and another Lansky flipper. They both looked a little gimmicky but they both also looked well built, and they were cheap.

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product Link
Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product Link

Product Description


This is a "tactical flipper" whatever that means. It's made of  9Cr18MoV Chinese steel, though there are other versions of  this knife made from much better steels. I suspect that many of these Amazon sellers get them confused. Mine is the $15 version that I assume comes with the cheapest steel of the bunch.

Official Specs (From Amazon)


(Note below that the steel is not 440C on mine)

  • 35" 440C Stainless Blade
  • 7" Overall Length, 6 oz
  • 2 position pocket clip (tip up or tip down carry)
  • 2 Position Pocket Clip
  • Nylon Handle

From Top: Lansky LKN111, Lansky LKN003, Ganzo G704, Spyderco Tenacious
From Top: Lansky LKN111, Lansky LKN003, Ganzo G704, Spyderco Tenacious

Initial Impressions


I was expecting a large knife, and it's still a little larger than I expected. This thing is built like a tank, though not quite as heavy as I thought it would be. It still makes the Ganzo 720 look heavy. So, its weight isn't excessive for its size, which is good.

The knife also looks well built. Sometimes I get tired of hearing myself gripe about the quality of clips and case screws, so it really stood out to me that this knife has well built hardware as well, which I'm only used to seeing on knives that approach 100 bucks, so bravo to Lansky for that. Good day to you, sirs.

Now, if you have a reputation for building good quality knife sharpening systems, and that's what you are most known for, then I would think that a knife with their name on it would come sharp .... nope.

Overall, this knife gave me a good impression. I'm not sure I like the geometry, either, but people say that about my Spyderco knives. The knife itself is well executed even if it has a strange design.


Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product View 1

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product View 2
Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product View 3

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product View 4
Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product View 5
Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product View 6Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Product View 7



Build Quality



My review sample is well built. I wouldn't say that a build quality this good is rare for a 15 dollar knife, but I will say it's uncommon. I suspect that the exact same materials of the more expensive versions of this knife are used for the cheap model. Certainly the higher quality screws would be rare for any version of this knife.

Fit And Finish


Overall, good. It's maybe a little rough around the edges, but certainly spot on for the price point. Again, bravo to the well made looking screws and hardware. I've seen maybe a Ganzo at this price point with screws this good, and that's about it. 

I'd have to deduct points for having an almost dull edge out of the box. Again, I would point out that Lansky is a company known for making equipment to sharpen knives. I would give the edge a "boo" but my voice is hoarse since I've been fighting a cold.

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Finish 1

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Finish 3Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Finish 2



Blade


This LKN111 has what I would call a hollow grind, modified drop point blade. It's stone washed and well done other than mine being dull. It has an interesting geometry that I can't think of a purpose it would be ideal for. It has too much belly for a self defense knife or food prep, and while rugged, it's nowhere near the right shape for outdoors / camping / bushcraft activities. 

My version has 9Cr18MoV steel which is a step up from the usual cheap Chinese fare. While this is a capable steel for pocket knives, I would say that if the shape of the blade appeals to you, step up to the Sandvik steel.

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Blade View 1

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Blade View 2


Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Blade View 4Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Blade View 3

Handle


The G10 on my sample is well done. It's honestly hard to get G10 wrong, but its finish is a little above average for a budget knife.

The ergonomics of this knife don't seem ideal to me. The handle is grippy, and the knife itself feels solid, so I guess it's the weird shape that gives it a weird feel. It's not bad, but it's not ideal either. The flipper does form a nice guard, though, and the jimping on the liner make this knife feel nice and safe ... just a little weird.

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Handle View


Clip


This model out of the box comes with a deep carry clip configured for tip-up, right-handed carry, which is what most people will want. The clip is configurable for tip-down as well, but you're out of luck if you're a lefty. 

It's a little stiff, but overall the clip is decently made and well executed. Putting "designed by" some person in the name doesn't impress me; good design impresses me. 

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Clip View: SideLansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Clip View: Top



Deployment


Certain reviews have said that this model is hard / impossible to open one-handed. Like many unassisted flippers, it just takes some practice, but I didn't have any problems. The mechanism is a little stiff, but it deploys fine and locks up smoothly. 

Locking Mechanism


The LKN111 uses the typical liner lock mechanism. It's well done, giving it what feels like a solid lock. The lock engages and disengages fine. Just like G10, a liner lock is pretty hard to screw up. The liner does seem a tad thin for how bulky the knife is, but it's certainly a reasonable width, and they deserve a nod for not over-thinking a liner lock. 

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Lockup 1

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Lockup 2


Usability


This one went to my brother, who went through a whole box of knives and picked this one as the one he wanted. Men are basically big apes. You wave wave something like this in front of us and say "Mongo like shiny object?" and we scratch our under arms and say "Mongo can have please shiny object?" and so I stopped guessing long ago what my friends and family would want; now I just wave shiny objects until they pick one. But they have to tell me how they used it and how it held up.

My brother reports that in actual use it's just about as rugged as it looks. He works in a clean room wearing a "space suit" all day, and I believe he keeps this knife on a belt outside his suit. At any rate, it's something he uses every day. He says it's starting to feel like it's getting a little loose after several months of hard use. I suspect the pivot screw needs to be tightened. When I say "here, let me see it" he clutches it and says "naw dude, it's fine." (meaning: "Mongo no give up shiny")

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - In Hand 1

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - In Hand 2


Weights And Measures


ounces is not bad for a knife this size.

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - On Scale

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Caliper Measurement 1

Lansky LKN111 Pocket Knife - Caliper Measurement 2

Conclusions


This is a decent knife. I wouldn't say it's all looks, but I wouldn't say it's all business, either. This model isn't personally my thing, but I don't really have a gripe with it. There's so many decent knives in this price range that they all kind of blur together for me. 

The looks are a little aggressive in proportion to its functionality, but that it also personal taste. Some people would never consider having a knife this "tactical" looking lest it disturb others around them, and some people would consider it a plus. 

I would recommend getting the version with better steel, though. I bought this to see if I really, really liked it, in which case I was going to give it away and get the better one. But this version seems like a good value as well. As long as you don't mind sharpening your own knives, which most enthusiasts wouldn't have a problem with.


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